I collect salt and pepper shakers. Some of my favorites attach by magnets. Not only do the grandchildren enjoy playing with them; I’m intrigued also. Magnets are like magic to me. Now I know logically that a magnet has two poles, north and south. I also know that the opposite poles attract, and like poles repel. That knowledge doesn’t however diminish the magical properties when I play with magnets.
Like magnets,. I also enjoy words. Take for example the words “damnation” and “grace.” In the New Testament, “damnation” is mentioned only 11 times. In contrast, “grace” is found 131 times (KJV).
I find those facts fascinating. The Old Testament folks were governed by the law, judged by the law, lived and died by the law. Breaking any number of the 600 plus laws resulted in sin – and punishment. Just a bit of trivia, there were 243 positive laws (the do’s), and 365 negative laws (the don’ts). I don’t know about you, but I have trouble remembering which fork to eat with when there are more than one! Can you imagine the legalism that our Old Testament saints faced? My guess is that is why “sin” is mentioned so many times in the Old Testament. They dealt with laws, the breaking of laws, and the punishment that entailed.
By stark contrast, with the coming of the Messiah, legalism changed. Oh, change didn’t come easily; the Pharisees and Sadducees saw to that. But change it did, hence the word “grace.” Grace is the polar opposite of damnation. Grace attaches itself to sin in the body of Christ, and wipes it away. When we sin, all we have to do is find that Grace, and let it cover us. No more legalism. God had a perfect plan. His free gift of grace would draw sinners to Him, like magnets draw to each other. Do we still sin? Yes! Do we fall short of God’s expectations for us? Yes!
But here is our hope – Romans 5:20-21 “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(NLT)
The opposite of damnation is grace, and that grace attracts us and pulls us to the One who loves us in spite of our sin. Jesus is the magnet that pulls us, with our sins, to Him. He then takes those sins, and absolves us of them. That’s grace.